Gide set to explore emerging markets as Puel and de Moucheron re-elected

Gide Loyrette Nouel has re-elected its managing and senior partners for a second three-year term along with a new executive board.

Managing partner Stéphane Puel and senior partner Baudouin de Moucheron stood together for re-election on a combined slate. They will start their second three-year term in January 2015 with the aim of continuing the firm’s internationalisation into new markets including South East Asia and Africa.

Stéphane Puel
Stéphane Puel

The duo were first elected to the roles in late 2011, replacing Christophe Eck and Pierre Raoul-Duval respectively (6 December 2011).

Puel and de Moucheron will be joined on the firm’s five-strong executive committee by partners Laurent Modave, Nadège Nguyen, and Stéphane Vernay. The three, who stood independently of each other, won a contested election for the roles. They replace Eck, Moscow managing partner David Lasfargue and Frédéric Nouel on the executive committee.

The average age of the new executive commitee is 47, with all the members except de Moucheron in their early or mid-40s. Puel said the committee’s composition reflected the average age of Gide’s partnership, which is around 44, and was a sign that the firm was now in the hands of a younger generation.

Puel said he and de Moucheron had chosen to stand together as they were keen to continue the strategy they had embarked upon when taking over three years ago. He told The Lawyer Gide had worked on improving its image, both externally and internally, over the past three years with the aim of getting closer to clients.

“I think they perceive us now as more present, open and aware; happy to adapt ourselves to their needs,” he told The Lawyer.

He pointed to Gide’s string of lateral hires as proof that the firm was working to invest in talent. Gide has hired 17 partners in the last two years, including teams from Morgan Lewis in Paris (16 October 2013) and German firm Beiten Burkhardt in Ukraine (2 December 2013), turning around several years of high-profile partner departures.

In his second term, Puel said he wanted to consolidate this growth and that Gide was still open to attracting new talent. “We’ll work even more than today on listening to clients and making sure that clients have access to the right expertise in Gide,” he added.

Puel said Gide would also continue its focus on global markets. He said this would involve both exploring new opportunities overseas, but also deepening the relationship with fellow European independents Chiomenti, Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira and Gleiss Lutz (26 November 2012). The quartet are sharing office space in several cities (15 April 2014) and recently Cuatrecasas’s Casablanca lawyers moved into Gide’s Moroccan offices with the aim of working more closely together.

According to Puel, “a lot of other European firms” are keen to join the alliance, but for the time being it was working on better cross-selling to clients.

Independently of the alliance, Puel said Gide was actively exploring its own presence in South East Asia and Africa in particular. The firm has offices in Hong Kong and Vietnam in Asia and in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia in north Africa, and Puel said it is looking at whether it needed to expand its presence into other countries such as Singapore or create closer alliances with local firms.

He said Africa was a key focus with a lot of work at the moment on the continent, although opening more offices there would be a significant step.

“It’s too early to tell if we’ll go that far, but it’s something we’re thinking about,” he said.

The three executive committee members bring international experience. Nguyen was chair of international network Lex Mundi last year, while project finance partner Vernay launched Gide’s Hong Kong office in 2006 and spent 12 years in Beijing.